1.) Try to be quieter more shy.

2.) Don’t tell anyone you’re American let it be one of those cool secrets people find out on their own.

3.) Become absolutely perfect at Swedish.

4.) Develop a unique accent that is very strong when you’re speaking English to show off when you get home.

That was my list the “To Do” list for this year. I was really sticking to it, too, and I thought nothing could get in my way. I was fully prepared to turn myself into another person, because this year I could change my personality without anyone thinking it was strange. I thought it would be fun. I should have known that my own personality would push through like a stubborn two-year-old looking for her pacifier and as you’ve probably already guessed, this list was quickly forgotten.

The first day of school I see a girl sitting at lunch alone. I think, This is my chance, if I want friends I have to start now. So I sat next to her and started talking. Okay, strike plan number one. As we chatted she asked me which class I was in. I had no idea what she was talking about, so I tried to change the subject. Here is mistake number two:

“What did you do this summer?” I asked.

“Oh you know, traveling and stuff. Near Stockholm and then northern Sweden. You?”

“Yeah, I traveled, too.” Silence. Girl across from me (who calls herself Maria) takes sip of juice, looks around. Oh no, here it comes…

“That’s cool. Where did you travel, then?”

“Well, you know, Romania, Hungary the US.”

“USA? Really? That’s awesome! What did you do there?”

Now I have a choice: I can lie and say that I just really wanted to go to New York, and my millionaire Uncle gave me a plane for my birthday so my brother took me to see the Statue of Liberty, since he has his pilot license… or I could tell her I live in Maine. Oh! I know, if I stuff my face full of food and tell her I live in the US she won’t be able to hear me and she won’t want me to answer again since her face is already covered in today’s menu from when I tried to answer earlier. Then again, I just met this Maria person and spitting all over her may not be the best way to make friends with her. I opted for the truth, without the food-spitting.

“I, um live there.” There goes item number two!!

So, I didn’t stick to my plans, and I admit I have a long way to go before I can call myself perfect at Swedish. Plus, there is no accent present when speaking English, but I am finding it difficult to keep Swedish and English separated. For example, a normal sentence can look like this: “Where is my miniraknare?” meaning, “Where is my calculator?” I have begun to find it hard to remember the English word but what can one expect in my position?

What is my position anyway? I am the luckiest person I know to have been able to spend a year abroad like this. I’ve traveled to Sweden a lot throughout my life, and the plane ride was undoubtedly my favorite part of the experience. The idea that I am going home on an airplane makes this year feel like just another trip. Who’s to say that it isn’t anyway? Because, honestly, this year couldn’t possibly call itself a year- it’s been more like a month. The most adventurous month of my life with experiences I have learned from and will continue to cherish.

The best part of this “month?” That would be, without a doubt, the fact that I could share my every step with you. Thank you.



[email protected]

Huginvagen 12, SE- 715 31 Odensbacken, Sweden, airmail

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.